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David CO

Council spy?

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He said: "In most cases some UC, ADC and DC are 'old Scouters' looking to stay active in scouting in some shape or form and Commissioner Services fits the bill. "  

 

I do not presume to speak for anyone else, but that does not seem to argue that the needs of youth be subordinated to the desire of veteran volunteers to stay active.  He seems to be addressing merely their motivation and the reality than many find opportunities to serve Scouting in Commissioner Service. Looking to serve does not, to me, amount to putting the youth, unit, of CO lower on the priority list than the needs of the volunteer - any volunteer.

 

I can conceive of a situation where both the desire of the Scouter and the needs of the youth, unit, and CO are both served.

 

 

I can't think of any situation in which the needs of my unit would be better served by having a volunteer register as a council or district leader rather than a unit leader. 

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Then speak generally.

Good point.

Generally, in units with a sense of rugged individualism, I've seen UC can be a problematic position, followed by COR.

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It is a known fact that certain organizations want to be associated with the BSA brand, but not have to adhere to the franchise expectations.  This isn't just with BSA I have seen it with other organizations as well.

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Good point.

Generally, in units with a sense of rugged individualism, I've seen UC can be a problematic position, followed by COR.

 

In my experience units without a UC, even a lousy one who is only seen at recharter time, do somewhat better than the "rugged individual" units.  The units I've seen while appearing OK, have problems, usually major problems. 

 

I've mentioned the troop that doesn't use the patrol method, outdoor method, etc. that frustrated 3 UCs (one UC a member of the CO, one UC a den leader with the CO's pack, and one UC who was a MC of the troop prior to leaving the area to take care of a dying mother and coming back to the area) and ran off a 4th UC.

 

Another example would be a pack that created a "Barney Den" for kindergartners that was actually doing advancement work at that level.

 

A third example would be the pack that rushed their Cubs through the program, not following rules, and tried to get 4th grade 9 year olds their Arrow of Light so they could be Boy Scouts.

 

A fourth example would be the troop that did a lot of HA, and was very active. From all outside appearances the troop was top notch. However, when the troop folded to join Trails' Life, issues began to emerge. Advancement was a problem. They discouraged rapid advancement, making Scouts wait to take certain MBs and have BORs. And they ignored changes in advancement requirements allowing Scouts to use old requirements and ignore new ones.  While you would think this would appear at the EBORs that their Scouts had, it wasn't caught until after the folding. Several of their Scouts transferred to another troop. When one was going for his Life BOR, it was discovered that the old troop ignored some of the new Life requirements. Not only did it cause a delay in earning Life, the Scout had to appeal to National to have an EBOR since he would not have the "6 months as a Life Scout...." due to the original troop. Thankfully National granted the appeal, and the Scout stayed active a year after turning 18, when he went to college. Still, he is a "unit college scouter reserve" and helps out as he can.

 

 

Regarding CORs, unless they are duel enrolled as CC/COR, they are usually on paper only and not active. Pack's COR is a challenge to find and get paperwork signed. I'm still waiting for them to sign off on my wife's paperwork, and it was submitted 2 times now! And as I mentioned, I know of only 1 COR to ever attend district/council level meetings.

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My COR is very efficient.  He handles paperwork promptly, usually within a couple of days.  I meet with him at least once a week. 

 

COR is not as active in a unit as a SM or CC, but he/she does have a critical and necessary role to play.  I think it would be very foolish for a Chartered Organization to appoint a "paper" COR.

 

As you know, few COR's regularly attend council and district meetings.  I think this reflects the deteriorating relationship between BSA and the Chartered Organizations, not the activity level of the COR.

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As you know, few COR's regularly attend council and district meetings.  I think this reflects the deteriorating relationship between BSA and the Chartered Organizations, not the activity level of the COR.

 

Know it all to well that few, if any CORs attend district and council meetings. But I do not think it is because of the deteriorating relationship.  They either A) Do not know they are part of those committees, or B) Do not care.

 

True story, when I was a DE I actually went to every single IH per the charter agreement. Not only to introduce myself, but also to inform the His that their CORs are part of the district and council committees, representing the CO and its units. No COR ever showed up. Tried to get the Pack's COR, who obviously is the problem troop above's COR, to get involved when he showed up on a troop camping trip ( this was before the change in troop leadership that lead to changes I described). He never showed up to another Scouting event ever again.

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Know it all to well that few, if any CORs attend district and council meetings. But I do not think it is because of the deteriorating relationship.  They either A) Do not know they are part of those committees, or B) Do not care.

 

True story, when I was a DE I actually went to every single IH per the charter agreement. Not only to introduce myself, but also to inform the His that their CORs are part of the district and council committees, representing the CO and its units. No COR ever showed up. Tried to get the Pack's COR, who obviously is the problem troop above's COR, to get involved when he showed up on a troop camping trip ( this was before the change in troop leadership that lead to changes I described). He never showed up to another Scouting event ever again.

 

 

We seem to have observed the same things, but we have reached very different conclusions.  I don't believe the Chartered Organization's people are nearly so ignorant and apathetic as you guys from council like to claim we are.  

 

We agree that few COR's attend council and district meetings.  Should that fact reflect badly on the COR's, or should it reflect badly on the council?

 

I think it reflects badly on the council.

Edited by David CO

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As someone who has practically begged CORs to get active, I respectfully disagree. I think it reflects on the CORs.  Especially when I had units complaining about lack of representation on the district and council level.

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COR's know that their so-called representation on the council and district committees is nothing but a sham.  All the important decisions are made elsewhere.  

 

The execs and the big buck donors control the council.  The system is rigged.

 

Perhaps someday the populism that is taking root throughout the country, and elsewhere, will sweep over BSA and return control to the Chartered Organizations, or to the rank and file.  I would welcome the change, but I don't expect to see it in my lifetime.

Edited by David CO

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Maybe the system seems rigged because the Execs are influencing the big buck donors because the CORs are not doing their job and representing their units at the district and council level?

 

Yes I knew an SE who got the folks he wanted on the executive committee, but there were no CORs attending those meetings. IF CORs would be active, would represent their COs and units, it can make a difference.

 

Question for ya, if you are so anti-BSA and have another outdoor program with your CO, Why don't you tell the families they need to look elsewhere for a unit, or allow the unit to find a new home? I've seen what happens when COs do not support the program: the youth suffer in the long term.

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The COR's in Chicago did try to show up in mass and vote down the execs handpicked slate of candidates.  After the COR's voted down the slate, national threatened to revoke the council's charter.  Trying to hold an honest election is an unforgivable crime in the eyes of BSA.

 

Other councils don't even attempt to hold a fair and honest election.  They just rubber stamp any slate of candidates the execs put in front of them.  Is it any wonder why COR's don't even bother to show up anymore?

 

Chartered Organizations aren't stupid, and we are not blind.  We can see what is going on.  The system is rigged.

 

Our CO provides a lot of support to our unit.  Our Athletic Department pays for most of the cost of the scouting program.  We basically provide a free scouting program to our scout families.

 

I don't think any of our scouts feel they could get a better deal with another unit or another Chartered Organization.

Edited by David CO

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Owasippe.    Yes, that happened. But what followed?   The Council was rebuilt, the publicity was wonderful, the federal court case was unique, and Owasippe was ultimately saved as a camp ground. 

The CORs have the effect they can have.   Or they can stay home and let things happen.   Phone calls, publicity, "follow the money",  refuse to back down to bullies (even in Scout uniforms), enforce zoning regs. 

Sounds like politics as usual.

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When I became the cubmaster of the pack, I was introduced to the UC.  Our pack was strong, had great family involvement, strong Den leaders, and although I was coming off a 15+ year hiatus with Scouting, I was an Eagle, Camp Program Director, etc.

 

The new role was daunting, but it was a comfort to know there was someone I could go to if I needed to, as it was I didn't really; but it was nice when he would follow up with me.

 

As stupid as it may sound, there was a comfort in knowing that the UC was completely outside of the pack structure.  I would have a resource I could touch without feeling like I was letting the parents who trusted me with the leadership role down by not already knowing.

 

I have since taken the commissioner training, although I do not serve as a UC; I am a Roundtable Commissioner.

 

The first and most important think to note about the UC is that they do not have ANY authority over the unit.  They are not a Leader - as David rightly points out, the UC is not a leader selected by the CO, because they are not a leader at all.  They are not there to TELL leaders of the unit how to do things, they are available to answer questions about things if asked, and maybe suggest if appropriate.

 

Are they a spy - this may be semantics.  They would not consider themselves to be a spy, why would anyone volunteer for that job.  But they are a feedback mechanism to let the council determine if the Scouting program is effectively (or "correctly") being applied by the unit.  No franchising organization would operate without the feedback, it would be too easy for the franchisee to damage the reputation of the entire organization without it.  But mostly, they see it, as has been described above, to be a way to help the unit be better.

 

Some UCs are a little more aggressive in providing advice and guidance than they should be, but with the very rare exception (and those should be weeded out), they are there to help the unit be better.  If the UC is too aggressive, then the unit leadership should contact the district commissioner or the district executive (as most won't know who the district commissioner is) about changing the UC, and the DC can decide if the old UC should continue in that role or not.

 

Are they a toady?  Again, they probably do not see that as their job, but they are more likely, because they already know the unit, to be the one trying to promote friends of Scouting or other Council/District functions.  If I were the UC, I would try to decline some of this, but I would also try to make sure that the unit was at least aware of functions - particularly if they were not in regular round table attendance.

 

I expect that most UCs actually hate the tracking tools and metrics - they would probably just rather say high, and ask if there is anything the unit want's help with. But I think they also understand the value of being able to actually track, somewhat objectively how things are going - before a unit either from membership, finances, politics, or otherwise goes belly up by surprise.

 

Are the UCs actually needed?  This is a very circumstance specific answer.  For a unit with good support and leadership, they probably do not really see a need or value in the UC and get by very well without one.  Just like some other units can get by with almost no active involvement from their CO.  However, many more units, particularly in Cub Scouts with the shorter tenure of leaders and rapid turnover as a result; a good UC can really be that crutch that helps new leadership accomplish more of their goals.

 

I expect that beyond personalities, the other area where UCs and units get off on the wrong foot, and may be part of the perception of aforementioned spying, is that as BSA policies change, without a very BSA active CO, the UCs are in the best position to make a unit aware of the change.  Rightly or wrongly, the unit leadership takes this as being told what to do/or not do and does not like it.  "We've been doing it this way for 30 years and we're not changing now - now go and tattle on us to Council".

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